Objective: A pigment retinopathy has been reported in adult horses with equine motor neuron disease (EMND) arising from chronic α-tocopherol (α-TP) deficiency. A pigment retinopathy has not been identified in horses with neuroaxonal dystrophy/equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (NAD/EDM) that affects genetically susceptible young horses with α-TP deficiency. The objective of this report is to describe, for the first time, a pigment retinopathy in a family of α-TP-deficient Warmbloods (WB) with clinically apparent NAD/EDM or EMND. Animals and Procedures: Twenty-five WB horses from one farm underwent complete neurologic and ophthalmic examinations and serum α-TP concentrations were assessed. Two of the most severely ataxic horses were euthanized and postmortem examinations performed. Results: Alpha-TP deficiency was widespread on this farm (22 of 25 horses). Eleven of 25 horses were clinically normal (age range 2-12 years), one had signs of EMND (6 years of age), 10 had signs of ataxia consistent with NAD/EDM (1-10 years), and two of these were postmortem confirmed concurrent NAD/EDM and EMND. A pigment retinopathy characterized by varying amounts of granular dark pigment in the tapetal retina was observed in four clinically apparent NAD/EDM horses (two postmortem confirmed concurrent NAD/EDM and EMND) and one horse with clinical signs of EMND. Conclusions: A pigment retinopathy can be present in young α-TP-deficient Warmblood horses with clinical signs of EMND as well as those with signs of NAD/EDM.
- Vitamin E
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